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  • Questions on L.E. History

    I am doing a paper on law enforcement today and how it has changed in the last 40 years. I am doing a comparison on the firearms from 40 years ago. I am wondering what the most widely used handgun and long gun of that era, and what were disadvantages and advantages of those firearms? I appreciate any help I can get.

  • #2
    Forty years ago, most officers carried a wheel gun. Either a .38 cal or .357 cal, six shot with a four to six inch barrel length. Smith and Wesson and Colt were the two most popular weapons. Each officer usually carried 12 - 24 extra rounds of ammo in pouches on his belt and, if experienced, another box of 50 rounds in his briefcase.

    The only shoulder weapon carried was a 12 guage shotgun loaded with 0-0 buck. Very few agencies used a long gun.

    The weapons were adequate for their day and were replaced by semi-automatic handguns and rifles only because the outlaws were beginning to utilize firepower greater than law enforcement.

    One of the worst shootouts involving any CHP officer was in 1970 where four young officers lost their lives in the infamous "Newhall Incident" because the bad guys were using semi-auto weapons. Yet, the CHP took another 20 years to begin the equipping of semi-automatic weapons to their officers.

    Today's officers are still hampered and restricted with their choices of weapons. If every officer had at his/her disposal a weapon capable of full auto, I am certain the bad guys would think twice before getting into a shootout with their AKs and others. Once they are overpowered they usually withdraw and coward out.
    Last edited by SgtCHP; 08-13-2008, 03:48 PM.
    Be courteous to all, but intimate with few, and let those few be well tried before you give them your confidence!

    [George Washington (1732 - 1799)]

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    • #3
      Why law enforcement agencies don't get full-auto long guns... b/c when it's time to replace them who ya gonna sell them to?

      My agency is stuck with hundreds of rifles we can't legally sell. We offer them to other LE agencies across the state to use instead.
      Taking a year off to travel the USA with my family. You can follow our adventures on our website: www.TheGreatAdventureTour.com
      sigpic

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      • #4
        Originally posted by TGM View Post
        Why law enforcement agencies don't get full-auto long guns... b/c when it's time to replace them who ya gonna sell them to?
        I dont think this is the case for many agencies. I personally feel it's a liability that they arent willing to take. Every bullet fired is a liability for them.

        I know of a few local agencies that could care less about selling off their firearms. One wouldnt even let the officers buy them back and just decided it best to destroy all of them. It's horrible PR if a police officer sells/looses the deptartments old handgun and then that gun ends up killing someone.

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        • #5
          As SgtCHP said, 40 yrs ago most LEOs were carrying revolvers, .38 or 357, 4-6in barreled S&W or Colt & MAYBE a shotgun (Ithaca or Remington 870) in their cars. Even then many bad guiys had autos & we were hopelessly outgunned. It wasn't until the mid/late 80s administrators got smart & started authorizing semi-autos & rifles depending on the situation.
          The revolvers were, errr, "interesting" in that as the Newhall Incident showed, slow reloading, repititious training, & obscure policies only aided in a losing situation for the officers.
          AS criminals weaponry got more lethal & shootings more frequent, PDs had no choice but to look for other options. Then as lawsuits started stacking up, less lethal options were kind of forced into development & implemented. Are we better off? Overall, yes, but IMO the criminals still out-gun us most of the time & with sentences being so soft & Courts & supervisors second guessing the officers in their nice air-conditioned offices weeks/months later, the average patrolman still has along way to go....

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          • #6
            I'll give you one. When I started in '74, the issue was the Model 14, and Model 28. You could buy your ammo or take the issue stuff. The issue ammo was 158 Lead RN, cast and loaded by prison trustees. We had a belt loop case that slid onto the belt that held 12 rounds. I started carrying reloads until the Capt noticed and I imediatly bought a box of bullets.

            I'm retired but if I was still working, I would have no problem carrying a revolver, I still have my issue Model 28 that I was allowed to keep when I retired.

            In the 70s most large departments required the use of 158 LRNs. I was a L SWC man myself in the 357.

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            • #7
              Thanks everyone with the help, I really appreciate it

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              • #8
                It was exactly 40 years ago when the change to autos started. In 1968 the IL State Police was the first major agency to issue autos. That was the S&W Model 39. Salt Lake City PD was the 2nd agency not too long afterwards. Many agencies were slow to come to the autos and some major agencies didn't transition until the 1990s.
                Shotguns were issued to every ISP Trooper. Shotguns in the field were Winchester Model 97s, Model 12s, and Ithaca Model 37s. Remington 870s were issued in the 1970s.
                183 FBINA

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                • #9
                  Spanning nearly 40 years. In 1972 we were issued S&W Model 10's and 18 rds. Shotguns were signed out on a limited basis. That was with HCPD in MD. Ammo changed frequently depending more on politics than than factual need. Later we did start carrying hollowpoints in a +P loading. I went south to NC in 84 where we were issued Model 66's and 870's. The 66 was a sweet wheel gun. Toward the end of the 80's we transitioned to semi-autos. Hpe that helps some.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by ccdcbaker View Post
                    I am doing a paper on law enforcement today and how it has changed in the last 40 years. I am doing a comparison on the firearms from 40 years ago. I am wondering what the most widely used handgun and long gun of that era, and what were disadvantages and advantages of those firearms? I appreciate any help I can get.
                    WOW..where to start? I do not think so much there has ever been a question of wheter or not L.E. has had the right tools for the job as much as the "politics" involved in allowing Officers to more effectively protect themselves and innocent civilians from the bad guys. The Police just are not as "outgunned" as they once were to a degree. There has always been the threat. Back in the 20's you had gangsters with their "tommy guns" shooting at cops with Model 10 six shot 38special revolvers up to the 21st century in LA where bank robbers wearing body armour with REAL AK47's being dealt with by LAPD using issued M9 Beretta pistols. And in both and MANY cases the police dealt with the situation by getting their own tommy guns or recently in the LA incident having to go to a sporting good store to get .223 carbines. Finally most leaders of L.E. agencies are being proactive by doing the right thing and training their officers in use of patrol rifles and actually supplying them with M4's or other type patrol rifles that can defeat body armour and match the violent assault with the high capacity of ammo that may be need to stop the threat at hand before it happens. Personally, based on the view of a former machinegunner in the Marine Corps and almost 15year veteran Police Officer I see our duty sidearms as secondary weapons that we call our "primary duty weapon" because they do not defeat body armour. Our "primary weapons" should do the job in most all possible scenario's and that's why if it was up to me our "primary duty weapons" would consist of a holster on each side of our duty belts, one would hold a body armour defeating rifle caliber pistol like a FN "Five Seven" with military purpose ammo and the other would hold a sawed off shotgun or one of those Taurs revolver shotguns for every thing else"..hehehe...dam the torpedo's of political correctness...they who do not know, endanger us all...
                    "Some people spend an entire lifetime wondering if they made a difference in the world. The MARINES don't have that problem." ....Ronald Reagan

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                    • #11
                      But, just to help you out with your paper a bit. The department I work for carried their choice of Model 10 smith's in 38spl or Model 19's in 357 and an officer could buy a Colt python or a Stainless Smith if they paid for their own. Then they wen't to the Beretta 92 9mm then the 96 in 40sw and now the Hicap Poly wonder M&P SW in 40sw with 45 rounds available and 46 if ya count one in the chamber...The car guns meaning not easily accessable but able to get from the car or trunk or ammo locker are the Remmington 870 slugs and buck shot..the M14 308win ....before that and "still in the lockers" the Auto Ordinance "Thompson submachine gun" 45acp and currently M4's...Good luck with your paper...
                      "Some people spend an entire lifetime wondering if they made a difference in the world. The MARINES don't have that problem." ....Ronald Reagan

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